Portage County WATER (Well Owner Assistance for Treatment and Economic Recovery) Project

Portage County WATER Project Description & Requirements

In April 2022, Portage County set aside 2.3 million dollars of American Rescue Plan Act - State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (ARPA-SLFRF) for projects to improve access to and provide safe drinking water for Portage County residents. The projects are specifically for testing to identify nitrate-nitrogen concentrations in wells and treatment activities and remediation strategies for concentrations exceeding the drinking water standard.

The funds are broken up into two separate programs. One program is designed to serve County residents who obtain their drinking water from a private residential well and the other is designed to serve drinking water sources that are categorized as transient non-community drinking water sources by the Wisconsin DNR.

Portage County residents can benefit from these two programs. The program description, process, and requirements are stated as follows. The requirements, funding, and availability of the program are subject to change and cancellation.

Private Residential Well User

The private residential well program is open to any Portage County resident that uses a potable private well for drinking water. This program is available to residents that own the property served by a private well and those who rent or lease property served by a private well with the written preapproval of the property owner. Such good users are eligible to receive a free lab-certified water test. Those good users who have water quality results that exceed the nitrate-nitrogen drinking water standard of 10 mg/L may be eligible to receive up to $1,500 in reimbursement to offset the cost of purchasing/installing a reverse osmosis treatment system. Well, users must complete all the required steps below in order to qualify for the water test and/or potential reimbursement.

  1. Private well users must register to receive a lab-certified water test kit by completing the Water Test Registration Form.

    Well, users will be notified of a date and location where they may pick up their water test kits and a date when test kits may be returned.

    There is a limited number of test kits available each month. Registration is based on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to kit availability. If a month has already reached its capacity of water test kits, well users will be placed on a list for the following month. All well users will be notified of their pick-up and drop-off dates for their test kits.

    All well users must complete a water test through this program in order to qualify for potential reimbursement costs. No other tests will be accepted.

    Tentative Dates for the Water Test Kit Pick Up in (2023) are as follows:
    • October 30 to November 3, 2023
    • December 4 to 8, 2023

These dates are subject to change. Dates for subsequent months will be added as they become available. If you register for a test kit after the dates listed or the month that you register for is already full, your registration will roll to the next month. You will be contacted with the date of your test kit pick up.

  1. Well, users will be directly mailed a copy of their water test results. Well, users with results over the nitrate-nitrogen drinking water standard of 10 mg/L will be contacted by Portage County Staff and invited to fill out a Pre-Application Form (PDF) and W-9 Form (PDF) for cost reimbursement of a reverse osmosis treatment system.

    Well, users will need to work with a water treatment company or a licensed plumber to have an American National Standards Institute (ANSI), National Science Foundation (NSF), UL Solutions, Water Quality Association (WQA), or Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) approved reverse osmosis system, designed to remove nitrate-nitrogen.

    The pre-application includes specific qualifications that must be met in order to qualify for final reimbursement. Carefully review the requirements before signing and submitting the pre-application. Applications may be returned via hard copy at the address listed or via Email Planning and Zoning Department
  2. When the County receives a completed pre-application, County staff will review it for program qualification. The County will notify the well user if the pre-application is approved. The well user may proceed with the installation of a reverse osmosis system of their choosing that was identified in their pre-application.

    Pre-applications will only be approved if filled out completely and if there is adequate funding available. The County will also notify a good user when their pre-application is not approved and the reasons.
  3. After the water treatment system is installed, the good user may seek reimbursement by submitting a completed Reimbursement Application Form (PDF) to the County which must include all of the following items:
    1. A written confirmation statement of installation from a licensed well driller/water treatment system installer, with the plumber/installer's signature and license number.
    2. Pictures of the water treatment system installed in the well user's home and a picture of the certification symbol on the system.
    3. The well user's written statement of agreement to provide a nitrate-nitrogen water sample (free of cost) one year from the date of the water system installation.
  4. The reimbursement application will be reviewed by County Staff. If approved, the County will pay a reimbursement amount of up to $1,500 to the well-user applicant. The County will also notify a good user when their reimbursement application is not approved and the reasons.
  5. Approximately one year from the date of installation of the reverse osmosis water treatment system, the County will mail to the good user a nitrate-nitrogen water test kit. The test kit will include the tasks that the well user will need to complete and the date to return the water sample to the county, which is a requirement of this program.
  6. By applying for and participating in this program, the applicant and participant knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently acknowledge and understand that Portage County is not a party to the reverse osmosis equipment transaction and that, accordingly, Portage County disclaims all warranties and liabilities in connection with the installation, maintenance, performance, and efficacy of said equipment, including but not limited to the quality, performance, specifications, merchantability, and fitness for any purpose, and that Portage County shall not be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, exemplary, or consequential damages related to the installation, maintenance, performance, and efficacy of the reverse osmosis equipment of the applicant and participant in this program.

Transient Non-Community Drinking Water Sources

For information and applications relating to the Transient Non-Community Drinking Water Sources in the County, please contact Lindsay Benaszeski.